Thursday, February 28, 2008

Baked apples and John Denver

Tomorrow, in the immortal words of John Denver, I shall be 'lea-ving on a jet plane' to head off for a week's holiday on the beautiful island of Madeira. I cannot wait for a relaxing week in the sunshine (fingers crossed) and taking in all that this great island has to offer. The sub-tropical climate means that almost any fruit or vegetable is easy to grow and the abundant flowers are just breath-taking, to say nothing of the marvellous ocean views that meet you round every corner. I can't wait to head straight to the mercado dos lavradores which is one of the most colourful fruit, vegetable and flower markets I have ever visited. Just beautiful displays of exotic produce waiting to tempt!
So, I apologise in advance for the quiet week ahead but I hope I'll be back next week with tales of delicious meals at seaside restaurants and of course some stories about the marvellous and truly underrated wines that are the islands speciality - I'm looking forward to a glass of Sercial before dinner on the balcony, watching the sun set over the ocean... Bliss...

But I wouldn't want to leave you hungry, would I? Another sweet post tonight - usually I try to alternate - but I realised that I cooked these some time ago and never got around to blogging them. No time like the present, I thought.

I think I've been going through a bit of a nostalgic time of late, what with toad in the hole, rhubarb fool and now... baked apples. These were another childhood staple - the perfect pudding to make when you have forgotten about pudding but need to produce one. You see, there is no recipe as such. You just stuff the apples with whatever you have in the storecupboard (... well, almost 'whatever' - I haven't experimented with the tuna as yet). And of course it is a little tricky to produce them if you have no apples. And actually, not that great if you have no form of dried fruit. So actually, you should ignore the earlier comment.

Let's just say that I always have the ingredients to hand and it is an easy winter pud that everyone seems to enjoy.... Well... everyone apart from those who don't like dried fruit... Or apples... I must stop making these sweeping generalisations.

Then again, I don't think I've ever met anyone who didn't like apples.

Baked apples
Serves as many people as you want
1 apple per person
Any combination of the following:
sultanas, raisins, currants, dried figs, dates, dried apricots, mincemeat, ground or flaked almonds, stem ginger in syrup
Golden syrup
Brown sugar (muscovado, demarara or whatever you have knocking around)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Take a sharp knife and cut a slit around the circumference of the apple to prevent it exploding in the oven. Cut out the core of the apple to leave a good sized hole for stuffing with your yummy ingredients.
2. Layer the ingredients up - a bit of fruit, a bit of sugar, a few nuts, more fruit, some syrup, more fruit etc. Push the filling down with your thumb to pack in as much as possible. Finish with some brown sugar and drizzle with a little golden syrup.
asdf 3. Place in an oven-proof dish and pour a little water into the dish (half a centimetre is about right). Pop in the oven for around 45 minutes until the apple is completely soft.

4. Serve with custard. Not cream. Have you got that? These beauties should be served with custard. Definitely. Whether you like it or not! I'll be upset if I see cream anywhere near them..! Really.... Ok. If you really must. Just don't let me see you!

Notes - at Christmas, I love these with mincemeat and ground almonds. Otherwise, I usually stick with traditional raisins and sultanas - perhaps with a little stem ginger just for fun!


aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Ah, those baked apples - take me right back to my childhood. Hapy days, except for when I was made to eat the skin, which I loathed in those days!

I'll leave you to your John Denver - enjoy your break!

Rosie said...

Have a great holiday Antonia and I look forward to hearing all about it at a later date :D Oh I do so love baked apples and its been a while since I had them so thanks for reminding me to bake some again!! :D

Rosie x

Trekkie said...

The Baked Apple looks lovely - I can almost see a big swirl of custard going down well with it.

Hope you have a great break.

Joy said...

I hope this comment greets you refreshed and full of inspiration from your holiday. Lovely looking baked apple. They're my pudding of choice when I'm trying not to 'do' puddings and, I agree, who doesn't like apples?!

Wendy said...

Have a wonderful time! We expect a food report on your return. ;)

Pixie said...

Hope you're having a fabulous time at this very minute! Love apple desserts and this looks great.

Cakelaw said...

Have a great holiday!! These apples look good - an oldie but a goodie.

Jeena said...

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I would love to see you on there to chat about food and cooking you can talk about anything you like and start your very own topics. :-)
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Jeena x

David Hall said...

Hi Antonia

I adore baked apples, and so easy to make, the perfect quick and almost super healthy dessert!


Antonia said...

aforkfulofspaghetti - Thank you. I'm still not so keen on the skin actually, if I am honest!! But the middle is pure comforting nostalgia.

Rosie - Thank you - I've had a lovely time. Full holiday food report to follow soon!

Lynn - custard is a must! I don't know why I didn't photograph them with the custard actually...

Joy - thank you, I am indeed feeling refreshed from my holiday. I agree that I can kind of pretend that a baked apple isn't 'really' a pudding!

Wendy - thank you - full report coming soon!!

Pixie - I had a lovely time, thank you. Apple desserts are my absolute favourites.

Cakelaw - the old ones are often the best, I find. Thank you for stopping by.

David - I agree. Almost healthy (...though my hand might have slipped slightly with the golden syrup and the custard...)